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Dr. Ian Scharlotta paper published in California Archaeology

June 1, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Ian Scharlotta, BHAP team member, who had his paper published in California Archaeology!

Title: "Trade Routes and Contradictory Spheres of Influence: Movement of Rhyolite Through the Heart of the Western Mojave Desert" by Ian Scharlotta in California Archaeology, Volume 6, Number 2, December 2014, pp. 219-246.

Download paper here

Abstract: A geochemical study of seven discrete areas within two rhyolitic formations in the Antelope Valley, California, has demonstrated that rhyolite artifacts could be sourced in the western Mojave Desert (Scharlotta 2010a). Provenance analysis of obsidian and rhyolite artifacts from four Late Prehistoric sites located on the northern and southern edges of the western Mojave Desert suggest direct procurement practices and the presence of a trade network through the Antelope Valley. Less clear is whether evidence for the movement of materials can effectively be used to infer particular cultural territories or specific cultural interactions. Ethnographic work in the Antelope Valley suggests that the areas surrounding each rhyolitic formation, as well as the archaeological sites, may have each been controlled by a different group. The boundaries described by ethnographers may not have accurately reflected the prehistoric territories of groups in the area, as mission contact likely altered regional populations prior to recording. Notes from early missionaries and explorers provide conflicting information regarding the location of villages, native groups, and associated territories within the Antelope Valley. Furthermore, reports suggest that enmity/amity relationships varied between regional groups over time, and that open conflict was occurring near Santa Clarita, California, during the 1770s, circumstances that likely inhibited trade networks between the western Mojave and coastal Chumash populations. The movement of lithic artifacts is examined in light of the different lines of evidence to infer modification of previous trade networks and territorial boundaries in the Antelope Valley.

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